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Junior Kiwis 36 Junior Kangaroos 20

The Junior Kiwis conjured up an astonishing six tries-to-none second half form reversal to rampage to a 36-20 win over the Junior Kangaroos at Rotorua's International Stadium last night.
Junior Kiwis 36 Junior Kangaroos 20
by NRL

The Junior Kiwis conjured up an astonishing six tries-to-none second half form reversal to rampage to a 36-20 win over the Junior Kangaroos at Rotorua's International Stadium last night.

After an uninspiring first half performance, the home side was 0-20 down having lost the first of the two internationals 16-24 in Wellington last week.

A series-levelling victory seemed extremely remote as the two teams went to the break.

But, after stemming the flow of points in the opening 12 minutes of the second stanza, the match took a dramatic turn inspired by a fantastic chase by captain Martin Taupau to run down try-bound Australian fullback Dane Gagai. It almost defied belief that Taupau could give the fleet-footed Gagai a big start and still haul him down. While he conceded a penalty for carrying on with the tackle, his feat still lifted his troops.

The effect of it was evidenced by a stinging assault which netted the Junior Kiwis six converted tries and 36 points in the space of 22 minutes, most of the tries the result of some dazzling football.

Powerhouse second rower Lama Tasi ignited the first by making a break through the middle of the field. Soon after Shaun Johnson ran on the last tackle, flung the ball out in a tackle and Tasi was there in support to sweep up the ball and score.

Within 11 minutes the Junior Kiwis had three more tries from centre Drury Low, hooker Nafe Seluini and, deservedly, Taupau. With Johnson converting the lot, the home side had incredibly charged into a 24-20 lead.

They were far from finished.

Warriors team-mates Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sam Lousi and Siuatonga Likiliki combined for the latter to score and then came an outrageous display of skill from another Vodafone Junior Warrior Carlos Tuimavave. Ikahihifo broke through and off loaded only the ball went to ground. Somehow Tuimavave, though, snared it with a one-handed pick-up without breaking stride and crossed to take the Junior Kiwis to a 36-20 lead, holding on to win by that margin to square the series.

Match details:

At International Stadium, Rotorua

Junior Kiwis 36 (Lama Tasi, Drury Low, Nafe Seluini, Martin Taupau, Siuatonga LikilikiCarlos Tuimavave tries; Shaun Johnson 6 conversions).
Junior Kangaroos 20 (Michael Oldfield, Josh Jackson, Dane Gagai, Justin O'Neill tries; Cameron King 2 conversions).
Halftime: 20-0 Junior Kiwis.
Referee: Shane Rehm (New Zealand).

Teams:
Junior Kiwis: Glen Fisiiahi; Bill Tupou, Siuatonga Likiliki, Drury Low, Kane Morgan; Carlos Tuimavave, Shaun Johnson; Mark Ioane, Matthew McIlwrick, Martin Taupau (c); Sam Mataora, Lama Tasi; Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Nafe Seluini, Sam Lousi, Isaac Maliota, Paki Afu.
Coach: David Kidwell.
Junior Kangaroos: Dane Gagai; Michael Oldfield, Justin O'Neill, Ben Jones (c), Nathan Massey; Corey Norman, Sam Williams; James Cunningham, Cameron King, Tariq Sims; Mark Nicholls, Josh Jackson; Gerard Beale. Interchange: Dominic Walsh, Mark Appleton, Mark Appleton, Kyle O'Donnell.
Coach: David Hamilton.




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